Cooking risotto is a cathartic experience. Some people might say that it’s a tear-your-hair-out experience because of how much work it involves, but I’d argue that it’s more healing than it is enraging.
I usually make risotto when it’s cold outside and I need some comfort food. It was warmer this weekend but I decided to make it anyway. I had an idea for mixing sweet potato in and I was eager to try it out.
When you cook risotto, it’s kind of like making the perfect roast chicken. You can’t walk away. You have to stir the rice more or less continuously for more than 30 minutes, which might sound like torture to some of you but I promise that it isn’t. In fact, if you’re upset about something or you have some anger you need to work out, risotto is the perfect dish to make. It’s great for pent up hostility.
This risotto gets a lift from a roasted sweet potato. You can boil the potato instead but I’d urge you to roast it. The smoky flavor adds another level to the dish. It enhances the sweetness of the potato and pairs well with the salty cheese and the white wine.
If you’re not a fan of sweet potato, you can always sub in a roasted butternut squash. Keep in mind though that butternut squash is more difficult to cut, so if you’re looking for an easier recipe, you should stick with the sweet potato.
Here’s a song to get you started on your sweet potato risotto experience. I heard it this weekend at a coffee shop and it’s been stuck in my head since.
Sweet Potato Risotto
1 sweet potato, roasted and insides scooped out and mashed
5 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice, uncooked
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 oz grated Parmesan
Place the five cups of chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Allow it to come to a simmer but not a boil. Let it rest at a simmer while you start the other part of the risotto.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and stir frequently for five minutes. Add the rice and salt and stir for a minute. Then add the 1/2 cup white wine and stir until it’s mostly absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock and stir until it’s absorbed. Keep adding 3/4 cup of stock to the pot at a time and stir until it is absorbed. Reserve 1/3 cup of stock for the end when you mix in the sweet potato. This process takes about 25-30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mashed sweet potato, butter, 1/3 cup reserved stock, two to three ounces of Parmesan, and pepper. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese and pepper. Enjoy!